Understanding the laws surrounding consent in Arizona is of significant importance, whether you’re navigating personal interactions or you become involved in a related legal matter.
The concept of “consent” plays a crucial part in various criminal cases, particularly those involving sexual offenses. Understanding these laws allows you to make informed decisions and protects you against accusations. Additionally, this understanding is critical if you find yourself facing criminal charges.
Age of Consent in Arizona
The age of consent in Arizona is 18 years old. This means that individuals who are at least this age can legally give their consent to engage in sexual activities, but those younger than 18 cannot. An adult who engages in a sexual relationship with someone under the age of 18 can be prosecuted for statutory rape or another sex crime, depending on the circumstances.
Romeo and Juliet Laws in Arizona – Exceptions to the Age of Consent
Arizona state law provides an exception to the standard age of consent, referred to as “Romeo and Juliet” laws or a “close-in-age” exemption. These were created with the recognition that teenagers who engage in consensual sex should not face similar penalties provided for adults committing certain sex crimes.
Qualifying for this particular legal defense involves meeting specific criteria:
- The defendant must be under the age of 19 or still attending high school;
- There can’t be more than a two-year age difference between the defendant and the minor involved in the case;
- The underage participant must have been at least 15 years old when the incident occurred; and
- The sexual conduct was fully consensual on both parts.
If these conditions are met, a defendant may find relief from a criminal conviction.
Potential Criminal Charges Stemming From a Lack of Consent
In Arizona, there is a wide variety of actions that are classified as sex crimes and are based on a lack of consent. Some of the most common ones include:
Molestation of a Child
Molestation of a child is a serious offense where an individual intentionally engages in or manipulates someone else to engage in sexual contact with a child who is under fifteen years old.
Indecent exposure involves deliberately revealing your naked body or genitals to others in public where they are likely to be annoyed or offended. This is usually a misdemeanor if the victim is at least 15 years old, but it can be a felony based on the age of the victim and a person’s criminal history.
This is just a brief overview of sex crimes, as there are many others in the state of Arizona.
Potential Legal Defenses to Sex Crimes in Arizona
If you arе facing chargеs for a sеx crimе in Arizona, certain lеgal dеfеnsе strategies could be utilized by your attornеy. Somе of thе most common defenses include thе following:
An unfortunate reality is that dеfеndants can be falsеly accusеd and arrested. This dеfеnsе is often utilized whеn thеrе аrе ongoing divorcе or custody disputеs, whеrе your attornеy can show motivе on behalf of thе allеgеd victim.
There are instances when a victim might identify the wrong person as their offender for various reasons, including memory issues that can be affected by pain and trauma. If your legal team can provide evidence that you weren’t involved in the crime – like an alibi – this could lead to an acquittal.
Proof of Consent
Providing proof that thеrе was mutual consеnt for any sеxual activity is anothеr possiblе dеfеnsе. Howеvеr, thе effectiveness of this tends to rely heavily on potеntially subjective piеcеs of еvidеncе – text messages implying consеnt or witnеss testimony from bеforе or aftеr thе alleged act, for example – since dirеct еvidеncе of consеnt may not be readily availablе.
This defense is especially common in sex crime cases due to their often private nature. Your attorney can argue that there is simply not enough evidence to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Remember, the prosecutor has the burden of proof and must show evidentiary support for each element of a charged crime.
An Arizona Sex Crimes Lawyer Can Protect Your Legal Rights
Each case is unique, and an experienced attorney can help find the most effective defense strategy, given your specific circumstances. If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a sex crimes defense attorney.
Contact the Criminal Defense Lawyers at Orent Law Offices In Phoenix To Get Legal Assistance Today
For more information, contact the criminal defense attorney Craig Orent. Give us a call at (480) 656-7301 or visit our law office at 11811 N Tatum Blvd UNIT 3031, Phoenix, AZ 85028. We offer a free case evaluation, so get the help you deserve today.